Speculation is growing about Western Australian mining and agricultural magnate Gina Rinehart's interest in the RB Sellars rural clothing brand, or at very least its 125-year-old Driza-Bone oilskin coat and clothing range.
RB Sellars merged with Driza-Bone in 2017, later adding South Australia's 113-year-old Rossi Boots business to the fold in 2020.
Financial media commentary has suggested Mrs Rinehart's Hancock empire, which began a remote pastoral property buying spree last decade, then switched to eastern Australia Wagyu cattle country, was working towards a possible deal with the Propel group.
If a sale goes through she will be following in the boot steps of fellow WA pastoralist and mining billionaire, Andrew Forrest, whose family investment company, Tattarang, bought the iconic RM Williams boots and clothing business in 2020.
The RB Sellars, Driza-Bone and Rossi Boots brands are part of Melbourne-based Propel's stable, where the key shareholders include the prominent Victorian Lempriere agribusiness family.
The Lempriere name is best known as a big global wool trader with processing operations in Eastern Europe and diverse Australian farming assets which previously included a share in big southern Queensland cotton spread, Cubbie Station.
Fertiliser and explosives company, Incitec Pivot, has had a sudden change of chairman after the unexpected resignation of Brian Kruger, and the elevation of Greg Robinson to the job.
Mr Kruger, the chairman since 2019 and an Incitec director since mid 2017, stepped down from the board citing family reasons.
Mr Robinson, whose background spans extensive resources industry experience with BHP, Newcrest Mining and Lattice Energy, joined the board in 2019.
Incitec Pivot has acknowledged Mr Kruger's leadership during a period which delivered sustained earnings for shareholders through COVID-19 and geopolitical instability, and saw the company start moving to de-carbonisation.
However, IPL has also experienced plenty of turbulence, including considering selling its foundation fertiliser business just prior to the COVID pandemic, which scuttled that option, then devising contentious plans to demerge and float the fertiliser division; Queensland gas supply shortages and price spikes; swiftly selling the Waggaman ammonia factory in the US; closuing the Gibson Island fertiliser plant in Brisbane, and this year's sudden departure of managing director, Jeanne Johns and other senior management.
Drawn out discussions with a potential fertiliser business buyer are now in train.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has given the thumbs up to national milk processor Bega Group's takeover of the Betta Milk and Meanda Valley Dairy business in Tasmania.
The sale of TasFood's dairy assets, announced in August, includes a perpetual royalty fee for Bega to use the Pyengana Dairy brand name for milk and cream products in Australia, but not the premium cheese range.
The $11m deal, due to be settled in December, adds the 65-year-old Betta Milk name to Bega's portfolio, which includes the Dairy Farmers, Pura and Dare milk ranges.
Bega's dairy and drinks division already owns the former Lion Dairy milk processing plant in the Lenah Valley on the edge of Hobart.
An ambitious offer by Australian Community Media's owners to swap the company's network of regional and community newspapers for a 20 per cent stake in country television and national radio station group, Southern Cross Media, has been rejected.
Southern Cross owns the Triple M and Hit radio stations and nine regional television networks broadcasting in all states and territories, except Western Australia.
It is also assessing another potential takeover from the ARN Media network, whose big shareholders now include WA's Seven West Media, after that Kerry Stokes-led media group snapped up almost a fifth of ARN's shares in a weekend share deal last week.
ARN's radio assets include the KISS and Pure Gold networks.
Southern Cross said the merger offer from ACM (which owns this masthead) to get involved in regional newspapers was not consistent with its "All about audio" mantra and did not represent enough value for shareholders.
The ACM bid did not involve ACM's popular agricultural mastheads and websites such as Farmonline.
Production of algae has been added to the national standard for organic and bio-dynamic produce, allowing Australian algae producers to compete in the global organic market.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has approved the addition of the amendment to the Australia's technical export standard for organic and bio-dynamic goods.
Deputy agricultural trade secretary, Nicola Hinder, said it was exciting to see a significant shift in some consumer preferences towards organic products and sales in organic products - even algae - growing worldwide
"As the main focus in equivalence arrangements with our international trading partners, it is vital we ensure all sectors are represented to ensure ongoing trade opportunities across all sectors of agriculture."
The upcoming evokeAg's Future Young Leaders cohort has been announced, identifying five young and emerging players building cutting edge solutions and knowledge in the agrifood sector.
The successful finalists are NSW's Natalie Bell, 27, the founder of Hylo Ag; Western Australia's Guy Coleman, 29, created the OpenWeedLocator; Japan and NSW-based Sam Lambert, 25, the co-founder of market access and compliance business, zenGate Global; Queensland's Roberta Marcoli, 28, a James Cook University postdoctoral aquaculture researcher, and ACT's Katia Taylor, 28 a postdoctoral soil carbon researcher at CSIRO.
Designed to build the capabilities of emerging leaders, the Future Young Leader Program give participants a platform to voice ideas, innovations, and research projects to evokeAg's global audience in Perth on February 20 and 21.
From the development of crop varieties that thrive in unpredictable climates, to a pioneering method for recycling livestock ear tags, the innovation achieved by the 2024 young leaders is vast.
Assurance program provider for the fresh produce, wine grape and supply chain industries, Freshcare Australia has two new directors, Andrew Redman and Alison Buxton, and reappointed, Jane Lovell.
Mr Redman is chief technical and sustainability officer with the Perfection Fresh horticulture group, with 20 years experience in the sector, while Ms Buxton, has a supply chain and marketing background in Australia and the Asia Pacific.
The appointments coincide with the departure of Belinda Hazell after 10 years on the board.
US and Adelaide-based climate technology company, CH4 Global, has appointed Steve Chun as chief financial officer to play a lead role in the company's moves to produce seaweed-based feed supplements which will help the food industry cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Ch4 Global, which has production facilities in South Australia and in New Zealand, sustainably grows asparagopsis - a red seaweed native to both regions - which has been found to drastically reduce methane emissions from cows and sheep by up to 90 per cent.
Mr Chun has moved from SHC Capital, where he was managing director, and prior to that a groundbreaking co-founder, at DEPCOM Power Inc, where he led the company's remarkable ascent to be one of the top five fastest growing
US companies before it was acquired by Koch Engineering Solutions.
Entries have opened to the 2024 Australian Small Business Champion Awards celebrating the achievements and considerable economic, social and cultural contribution of small business operators.
This year marks the 26th consecutive year of the awards, featuring more than 100 categories, including agricultural services, plus special spotlight categories such as business of the decade, small business young entrepreneur (aged 30 and younger), small business entrepreneur and the 2024 Growth Award.
Small businesses provide employment for 5.1 million Australians (nearly double that of big business) and account for one third of Australia's business .
Online entry to the awards is free and will be open until February 15.
Finalists in the 2024 program will be announced during March and winners revealed via two national presentation events at Sydney's The Star in mid April.
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